in reverence of broken souls //


in the past few months i found myself paralyzed by grief. processing a lifetime of pain + disappointment all culminating with the closing of my business. the only place in which i have felt full agency. the last year was replete with experiences that affirmed my lack of agency in this world. in this country.

a year that further stifled breath.

i gave all that i could. and when there was nothing left, i retreated within myself. bc that is my way. i have prayed for strength + a renewed sense of purpose.

i am being honest in saying i am deeply depressed. but because i choose to practice transparency although it emboldens some within this hypercritical, destructive generation, to take up arms against human expression. i find myself disappointed by the “petty culture” we have passively sustained; i ask, where’s the line that separates sensitivity from straight-up paralysis? why have we become afraid to speak the truth of our pain, our failures, our hurts? what’s the value in “the tea” when you strip another human being of the dignity of owning their story?

i say to you, your pain is valid. you joy is valid. and yet, why isn’t mine? all of the ways life manifests and unfolds are valid. those who criticize must be encouraged to practice tenderness with themselves. and to extend it to others.

no one should be shamed for being imperfect. for being human. and ultimately, for surviving.

it is only through the community of people who have created space for me to be broken (in spirit). downtrodden for the moment. that i have found solace. to those who create space for the complexity of the human experience, thank you. #xodvf //

Desirée Venn Frederic is a Sierra Leonean born writer and installation artist of Geeche and Maroon ancestry. Her work pulls heavily from her transnational experiences and understandings. The artist and thought leader explores identity, ownership and contemporary ideas in aesthetics. As the founder of Nomad Yard, a globally minded vintage shop in Washington, D.C., Venn Frederic creates a playground for those who love culture, history and rare antiques steeped in stories. She uses her work to negotiate multiple strata of marginalization being both undocumented and an aboriginal indigenous woman. She is an interior designer creating experiential spaces and interiors. She is a community organizer and founding member of Artist Union DC, with a keen interest in cultural studies and artistic expression. She is particurlarly interested in the ways in which fashion, visual culture and critical theory inform, shape and encourage discourses surrounding the socio-economic, political and cultural. Venn Frederic has shared her creative interests as an exhibiting artist with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center drawing parallels of her own personal immigration detention in 2013 to the criminalization of human existence throughout history. She holds degrees in Fashion Merchandising, Business Management and a certificate in Community Advocacy and is fluent in French and Krio. As a speaker, she has engaged TED Talks as well as audiences at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, The National Endowment for the Arts National Maker Faire, Ted Talks, Made in DC Maker Summit, General Assembly, and Creative World’s Creative Economy Summit. As an ambassador with Define American, the activist shares her personal journey to expand the narrative of immigrants. She exists via the internet sphere simply as @xoDVF. She is a mentor to 2 college aged creative entrepreneurs and loves vintage kimonos.